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  1. #1
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    Building project advice


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    I'd like to have an extension to my house. I would like this to be completed in the summer of 2020 and am aware I need planning permission and various contracts will need to be signed.

    What I'd like to know is how far in advance I should begin to plan such a project with an architect or builder...

    Also what is an expected % of cost to be paid upfront/ on completion of a big extension project estimated to cost around £70,000

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      I recently had an extension and the whole project took about 2 years. 6 months to get architect, drawings, planning permission and building regs and builder. We had to wait 12 months for builder, build took 6 months. I hadn’t considered builder couldn’t start for 12 months. We had other options that could have started 6-12 months but opted for the builder we preferred and had good references for. We had a 8 part payment plan - 12.5% on day 1, then same every 4 weeks thereafter x 6 and then balance on completion. Total build was around £150k. As it worked out our build was done March - September which worked out much better than a winter build, just a consideration if knocking down walls and having roof alterations.
    • #3
      Members Hendrax's Avatar
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      No harm in starting now. Contact an architect, get the plans drawn up then submit them to the council. That'll give you plenty of time to get half a dozen quotes in.

      All building companies vary. Could be a small upfront cost/deposit. Then it would be stage payments from my experience.

      Ground work done: pay x amount.
      Brick work up: pay x amount.

      And you should definitely look at a retention plan in the contract so at the end of the project you hold on to a certain % for 3-6 months to iron out any comications, if any, that occur once the project is completed.
      Last edited by Hendrax; 24-03-2018 at 16:30.
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      We did a similar project, but luckily through a trusted family connection.

      There’s no need to pay a large upfront sum, but you will need to give the contractor regular payments as they are constantly paying subbies and suppliers.

      With our large home project before that one, with another contractor, I took advice from a project manager friend and ensured that that the winning contractor was willing to sign a JCT contract.
      https://www.jctltd.co.uk/category/home-owner-contracts
      This irrevocably set the price, staged payments and retention whilst snagging was cleared. It was linked to very detailed data spec sheets covering everything from exaxt number and location of elec fittings, insulation products/depth etc. Well worth the time and tiny cost, especially when the contractor tried to trick us over shortcuts made and unresolved errors.
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      Dunscouting sully's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Weststander View Post
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      We did a similar project, but luckily through a trusted family connection.

      There’s no need to pay a large upfront sum, but you will need to give the contractor regular payments as they are constantly paying subbies and suppliers.

      With our large home project before that one, with another contractor, I took advice from a project manager friend and ensured that that the winning contractor was willing to sign a JCT contract.
      https://www.jctltd.co.uk/category/home-owner-contracts
      This irrevocably set the price, staged payments and retention whilst snagging was cleared. It was linked to very detailed data spec sheets covering everything from exaxt number and location of elec fittings, insulation products/depth etc. Well worth the time and tiny cost, especially when the contractor tried to trick us over shortcuts made and unresolved errors.
      Good advice, but no contract has an irrevocably fixed price as that wouldn’t allow you to change your mind!

      When I used the homeowner contract, I had to explain to the builder that it protected him more than me. His starting position was “I don’t use contracts”.

      Some of the most important things to have in the contract are working hours, access and making good afterwards (the garden, fences, etc).

      Don’t forget your architect / designer will want paying long before the builder starts.
    • #6
      JacksGrandad Brok's Avatar
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      If it is a small extension, it may come under Permitted Development Rights?
    • #7
      Members Weststander's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by sully View Post
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      Good advice, but no contract has an irrevocably fixed price as that wouldn’t allow you to change your mind!

      When I used the homeowner contract, I had to explain to the builder that it protected him more than me. His starting position was “I don’t use contracts”.

      Some of the most important things to have in the contract are working hours, access and making good afterwards (the garden, fences, etc).

      Don’t forget your architect / designer will want paying long before the builder starts.
      The price is irrecoverably fixed. Protecting the home owner too.

      Variations of work and spec either way, outside of the JCT, are obviously out of the JCT fixed price and can considerably increase the cost. The trick is to thoroughly create the spec before you go to contractors, working with an excellent architect, project manager or someone similar with extensive building knowledge.

      Another advantage of a JCT is that it can set deadlines. Many busy builders in SE England take on too much work and 'spin plate', not coming clean as to the real reasons for the long absences from your job. Often a great start is made on the work, the bulk of money paid over, then a vacuum.
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      As a Building Estimator/Quantity Surveyor all my life I have always told householders when I visit them for pricing purposes " If our quote is not the one you want to use promise me you will NOT pay your proposed builder any money up front. If they ask for same they are not a trustworthy builder, possibly got cash flow problems. Only pay in completed stages payments."

      I despair how many I have seen who ignored this advice and then "cry" when the builder goes bust or just walks away with their money.
    • #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Weststander View Post
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      The price is irrecoverably fixed. Protecting the home owner too.

      Variations of work and spec either way, outside of the JCT, are obviously out of the JCT fixed price and can considerably increase the cost. The trick is to thoroughly create the spec before you go to contractors, working with an excellent architect, project manager or someone similar with extensive building knowledge.

      Another advantage of a JCT is that it can set deadlines. Many busy builders in SE England take on too much work and 'spin plate', not coming clean as to the real reasons for the long absences from your job. Often a great start is made on the work, the bulk of money paid over, then a vacuum.
      JCT homeowner contracts, like all JCTs do allow for variation of the contract works. These shouldn't considerably increase the cost and should only reflect the cost of that work. If you therefore wanted to add a wall, or change a layout, the contract allows for the Employer to request that, and the Contractor to provide a reasonable price based on his initial costings of the job. If they priced £4000 for 10 meters of partitions and you add 2m, then the cost should be around £800, plus any work that might be required to effect that change. In the Homeowner Contracts I think this is covered in Condition 5.

      I agree with you though, I wouldn't trust any builder not prepared to enter into an approved contract, especially a JCT Homeowner which is basic, clearly written with limited legal jargon. Any project over £100k I would be looking at a JCT Minor Works Contract as this is more robust, and is more clear on how variations are dealt with. If penalties for late finishing need to be introduced, say you had a rent while works went ahead, then you'd have to consider the JCT Intermediate Contract that allows you to set Liquid and Ascertained Damages for late finishing by the contractor, although conversely the Contractor is entitled to an Extension of Time and to claim Prelims if they are delayed by variations for the contract, unforeseen circumstances from the existing building, severe weather etc.

      What is always important is to ensure as the Employer that you are not ahead of the works undertaken with your payments, and the value of the works to each point has 5% held back for the retention. For the MW and IC contracts gaps in work progressing on site are a breach of contract and can lead to determination of the contract by the Employer.

      You should allow around 15% for consultants (architect/QS - full service, structural engineer) and local authority fees. A budget of £100,000 would break down something like this:
      Consultants fees and application charges: £15,000
      Contract sum: £65,000
      10% Contingency: £ 6,500
      VAT: £14,300

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